The origin and evolution of my Sunday brunches

Every Sunday, you’ll likely find my friend Tolu at brunch somewhere. She might be at Eric Kayser alone, catching up with a former colleague at Pitstop, or hosting close-knit friends at her apartment in Victoria Island. It was no surprise that when she came to spend the weekend at mine sometime in February 2021, she was itching for us to go out to brunch on Sunday. Another friend of mine was around at the time, and we collectively agreed to spend our Sunday morning at Orchid Bistro, Ikeja GRA.

We spent the time talking about anything and everything, catching up on our individual travails, and running commentary on the food. A colleague of mine was scheduled to visit me that day, so she joined us at Orchid Bistro instead. I appreciated how chill and relaxing the outing went and commented on how I’d love to experience it more often. The only problem was that regularly leaving my house wasn’t something I was keen on doing. Tolu pointed out that I could make it work in my space and I just needed to figure out the food. I reached out to my assistant, Chinelo, and the hunt for a chef began.


Pre-pandemic Paystack encouraged Stacks to live close to the office, including offering housing grants to assist anyone who chooses to move to a place within a certain distance from the office. Just before the COVID lockdowns commenced in 2020, we had two apartments ready within the vicinity for those who would like to move in, knowing fully well that most people likely didn’t have their spaces adequately set up for remote work, especially when it comes to internet connectivity and power. By the time the lockdowns took effect, a decent number of Stacks (including me) lived within walking distance from each other.

As the lockdowns eased up, my space slowly became a hub of sorts, with friends and colleagues sometimes choosing to come work from mine, convene for an evening stroll, or hang out with other colleagues. This helped in a number of ways, including helping to foster camaraderie at a time when most of the world was for all intents and purposes, lonely.

As the world continued to open up in 2021 and people returned to their regular lives, average foot traffic at my place remained greater than in pre-pandemic times, and a glaring benefit of hosting brunch once a week at mine meant that I was able to intentionally concentrate all my people-ing to that day.


With the help of Chinelo and several chef trials later, we settled on one and kicked things off on the 22nd of August, 2021. It was quite the large group. Eight people, all of them colleagues except one. Given that it was my first, I winged it. There were some fundamentals established from day one, however, that have stayed the same. Brunch starts at 11 am. It’s a four-course affair (breakfast, small bites, lunch, and dessert). Bottomless mimosas!

My preference for punctuality meant I actively noted when guests arrived and prioritized those who came on time for future invites. When I moved to my new place and had a “proper” dining area, the TV stayed off during brunch to encourage more interpersonal activity. Eventually, I also deprioritized games as I felt they were a lazy crutch often relied upon to fill the silence when an inherently diverse group of people could instead engage in enriching conversations, share experiences, and learn from each other.

Over time, I’ve also learned to be aware of and appreciate the little things that come together to make the overall experience unique.

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The conversations we have are largely spontaneous, and each Sunday touches on a variety of topics. The flow is dependent on the people in the room and what they feel like discussing or debating at the time and it’s almost impossible to predict how each instance will go. In a recent gathering, someone touched on the subject of porn addiction - a topic eerily reminiscent of this tweet, which while uncalled for, earned itself a pile-on that presented an interesting case of context collapse.


In the months after Stripe’s acquisition of Paystack closed, Shola sometimes asked me in our one on ones, if I have found a way to translate money into happiness. I think this is it.

 
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